A Rushed Road Trip

Travel Tuesday

We drove two days to get there, stayed two days and drove two days back home. Roughly 1800 miles, Ken says. Definitely not the ideal vacation and certainly not the classic wandering road trip–but a mini reunion with beloved relatives made it worthwhile. And even on a short trip, we make discoveries.

Here’s what we managed to see and do on our trip from Tucson AZ to Carmel CA and back.

The Kofa Cafe, an “Undiscovered Gem of Arizona”. Despite the fact it sits on a little-traveled byway, the Kofa draws visitors from around the world, which is why “undiscovered” is in quotation marks. See more in this little slide show. (From Tucson,to avoid Phoenix, we take 85 north from Gila Bend to US 10. Then we go north from Rt. 10 toward Vicksburg, and then take 72 toward Parker to continue west.)


Blue Highways Despite all the times we have driven between AZ and CA, we drove on roads we had never been on.

Along California Route 62 heading for Joshua Tree National Monument

We avoided driving the freeways through the northern edge of Los Angles, instead taking desolate desert roads that connected just enough of civilization that we could find food. Vegetation changed from creosote to ocotillo and mesquite to the eerie Joshua trees.

Historic Town Murals Twenty Nine Palms stretches for miles and miles and miles. At least ramshackle homes and official looking street signs (Sandy Claws Lane) sit just off the highway. But the town itself proclaims “The Town of Murals.” And the murals in the business district show scenes from the town’s history–like this one of the Dirty Sock Camp. The legend explains that when the Miners had nothing else they would strain the mud through an old sock to find the tiny flakes of gold.

Dirty Sock Camp Mural

We followed Rt. 62 from Parker to where it intersected with Rt. 247 going north and curving West again toward Victorville on Rt. 18. Then we took a wrong turn which took us to our next discovery.

Apple Valley.  Ken flashed back to his boyhood and informed me that this had been the home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Sure enough, we were driving on Happy Trails road and crossed Dale Evans Parkway.  We  thought there might be a museum, however the museum was in Victorville, then moved to Branson Missouri and recently closed for lack of funds. How sad.

Comfort Suites, Victorville We decided to stick with one chain of motels on this trip, and at Victorville, a town that marks the divide between the desert and the inland farming valleys of California, we stayed at the 3rd-ranked lodging on Trip Advisor. The Comfort Suites had very friendly employees, a large room and a great shower head. Although it is just off the freeway, we didn’t hear a sound. We walked across the street to a Marie Callendar’s restaurant where we had a mediocre dinner.

Designer McDonald’s. Ronald McDonald would never recognize this place. Besides serving fancy coffee concoctions–which most McDonald’s now do–the interior design shouted sophistication. Indeed this McDonald’s in Palmdale  looked more like a high class lounge than a hamburger joint. It featured 21st century  orange square stools at a molded white bar, overstuffed black easy chairs, and asymmetrical arrangements of booths and tables.   All that was missing was the bouncer guarding the velvet rope that kept out the hoi-polloi. (The New York Times recently wrote about design in a London McDonald’s and this article talks about some new design in New York City Micky D’s.)

All pictures by Vera Marie Badertscher, all rights reserved. This trip was all on our own dime, so those establishments mentioned are not sponsors.

More to come on this road trip next Tuesday.

What’s the quickest road trip for the longest distance that you ever took? And I’m now on a hunt for these designer McDonald’s. Have you spotted one?

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler’s Library, recreating her family’s past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

Vera Marie Badertscher – who has written posts on A Traveler's Library.


About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “A Rushed Road Trip

  1. Ok this may seem odd, but the description of McDonald’s is what I wanted to see a pic off. I don’t eat there, but I can’t even imagine what an upscale McDonald’s would be like!

    1. Laura: I should have explained that I was not feeling well at the beginning of the trip, and therefore missed a lot of pictures I SHOULD have taken. Too lethargic. I had two shots on my cell phone from the McDonald’s, but they were poor quality. If you follow the links in the article, you can see a couple of examples in London and New York.

  2. very cool slideshow – esp the one of france! all those parisians! love it! thanks for sharing this trip – i love driving the back roads.

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